What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying a home can be the biggest investment many might ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the exchange. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first responsibility at Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C., we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Staunton and Staunton City County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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